Contributor Newsletter

July 2017

Contributor Newsletter July 2017

Dear all,

Here’s the latest newsletter from the Listening Experience Database project.

LED1 conference proceedings
The proceedings of last year’s conference ‘Listening to music: people, practices and experiences’ are due out this month in a freely accessible online format. They include papers on a wide range of perspectives on listening, from a number of the first LED project team as well as scholars from outside the project. We’ll let you know when they become available.

LED2 conference
A date for your diary – the second project conference will be held on 6 and 7 March 2018 at The Open University campus in Milton Keynes. The Call for Papers will be announced over the summer, so if you think you have a potential paper that we would be interested in, please do start thinking about it and put in a proposal.

Technical update
Our colleagues in KMi have implemented further enhancements to LED. Users can now browse by listening experiences and select more advanced criteria to narrow the results by medium (whether the experience was heard via broadcast, live, playback or unknown) and the listening environment (whether it was solitary, in the company of others, in public/private or indoors/outdoors). The update was the result of a request made by users of LED. We value your input into making the resource as useful as possible so do please keep sending us your feedback.

We currently have 9,740 entries in the database with just short of 900 waiting to be approved. Once the remaining inputters have finished working on their sources we should exceed our initial target of 10,000 entries.

A pilot study has been completed to address one of the gaps in the database – the need for earlier (pre-1800) sources, particularly British ones. The study was based on searches of several databases such as British and Irish Women’s Letters and Diaries and British History Online. It experimented with search terms to find the most effective ones – interestingly, it seems that the combinations that worked best were relatively simple ones involving variations on ‘sing’/’song’/’singing’ and/or ‘music’.

We had wondered whether effective search terms would vary according to period, but the pilot found that this combination of terms seemed to be the most efficient irrespective of historical period. Several hundred listening experiences were identified by the pilot, and we’ll be undertaking further work to enter the material into LED.

As always, please carry on entering material, or get in touch with us to suggest sources that we might want to consider.

Publicity, networking and outputs
We have been busy with presentations at conferences and other events in the last few months.

Helen gave a paper on World War I nurses and their experience of music at the conference A ‘Great Divide’ or a Longer Nineteenth Century? Music, Britain and the First World War, at Durham University on 21 January.

Martin gave a paper entitled ‘Ordinary Theology and Church Music: Listening and Learning’ at the York Conference on Church Music, 13-15 February.

We presented a round table session at the Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain conference at the University of Birmingham on 28 June. Our topic was ‘Working-class listening in the long nineteenth century’. Trevor chaired the session, and the papers were on the Welsh working classes and religious singing (Helen), hymns and working-class spirituality (Martin), working-class encounters with ‘elite’ music (David) and music in the lunatic asylum (Rosemary Golding, our colleague from the OU Music Department).

Alessandro will be chairing a workshop on linked data at the ICE conference in Vienna in October 2017.

We have also been busy with public ‘knowledge exchange’ events. These are aimed at a more general audience and they give us the opportunity to raise awareness of LED and hopefully to discover potential materials that we wouldn’t otherwise be aware of.

In this vein, David gave a talk on 9 March in the ‘Music and Ideas’ series (formerly Grove Forum) at the RCM. Helen gave a presentation about LED at an OU in Wales Alumni and Supporter Event in Cardiff on 17 March, and Simon represented LED at another alumni event at The Open University in Milton Keynes on 9 June. And we held a very successful study day entitled ‘The hidden listeners’ in Glasgow on 29 March . We were hosted by the Mitchell Library, which is being very supportive of our research, and we hope to visit them again with another event before too long.

Helen and Simon

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